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Still more parking for Downtown Houston!


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The lower levels of the Bank One building will be converted to parking spaces.

Out with computers, in with cars for CBD building

Houston Business Journal - March 17, 2006by Jennifer Dawson

In an unusual twist, a planned rehab of the old Bank One Center skyscraper will take nearly 200,000 square feet of leasable office space off the market as four stories of pricey downtown real estate are converted into parking.

Most of the space below the fifth floor at 910 Travis will be transformed into 300 parking spaces, which will decrease the office tower's rentable space from 735,000 square feet to 542,000 square feet. The price tag on the garage conversion and other building improvements totals $12.8 million.

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As much as I complain about excess parking downtown, I don't think this is really a bad idea. The floors being converted don't have windows, so leasing would be difficult, and the parking will still be a small part of the overall building. This is a better solution than another full parking garage.

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As much as I complain about excess parking downtown, I don't think this is really a bad idea. The floors being converted don't have windows, so leasing would be difficult, and the parking will still be a small part of the overall building. This is a better solution than another full parking garage.

Agreed. Perhaps more importantly, by increasing the inventory of available parking spaces, they are cannibalizing demand from the market for other parking spaces. With less demand, the revenue stream from parking lots on vacant blocks is reduced, which makes surface parking more difficult to justify as the highest and best use of land in the CBD. It also removes a substantial chunck of vacant office space from the CBD market; a tighter market makes development more palatable.

The bottom-line result is a higher probability that nearby blocks will be developed in the nearer future.

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I guess I could read the article. I could learn something, like the fact that PageSoutherlandPage is an architecture firm. They are in the ground floor of my building (1001 Louisana). Neat office they have.

There is also a lens crafters street level at 910 Travis

Funny/sad - killing what little street level retail we have in the name of parking.

But 910 Travis needs parking.

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Hey, here's a potential scenario: what if more parking lots were converted to parking garages? I'd imagine the price for parking would go up to help pay for construction costs. With the price of gas also rising, it might have an affect (or is effect?) on how people get to work in that more may start car pooling or taking the P&R.

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Hey, here's a potential scenario: what if more parking lots were converted to parking garages? I'd imagine the price for parking would go up to help pay for construction costs. With the price of gas also rising, it might have an affect (or is effect?) on how people get to work in that more may start car pooling or taking the P&R.

What I would like to see would be traffic lanes cut back and cheap, on-street, diagonal parking spaces added wherever possible. This has already occurred on some streets as a result of Cotswold. Doing this would help encourage street-level retail, earn the city some money, and reduce the economic incentive for developers to build more parking garages.

Surface lots are an eyesore, but the city could at least require they use porous pavers that would reduce water runoff and allow some grass.

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I'd be very much in favor of the city adopting some "lot standards" for downtown and Midtown, standards that included landscaping requirements and pavement standards.

I believe the city already has requirements for "waste and litter" management for private and public lots. They're just not always enforced. Kind of like the homeless ordinances. Of course, I could also be wrong about the existence of these requirements.

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This is really a shame. 910 Travis has one of the more beautiful downtown lobbies, and one of the only significant ones from its time period. Made it one of the nicer buildings to go into. We can forget our dreams of street level retail and pedestrian activity if the bottoms floors of downtown buildings start being turned into parking.

Hey Subdude, I don't suppose you have a postcard of this building when it was Bank of the Southwest?

Edited by H-Town Man
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Hey, here's a potential scenario: what if more parking lots were converted to parking garages? I'd imagine the price for parking would go up to help pay for construction costs. With the price of gas also rising, it might have an affect (or is effect?) on how people get to work in that more may start car pooling or taking the P&R.

It doesn't work that way. There is a phenomenon known as 'supply and demand'. The quantity of a good demanded (in this case parking spaces) is dependent upon the price level. If the demand is held constant and the supply is increased by building new parking garages, then there will be greater competition among suppliers for a finite number of customers.

Assume that lot vacancy starts off at 95%, but we add enough spaces that vacancy goes down to 80%. One really large lot owner figures out that he can fill his lot up to 100% by charging $1 less per day than all of his competitors (the market). Suddenly, all the smaller lot owners see their vacancy rates skyrocket, forcing them to lower their prices in order to remain competitive, with their lots attempting to maximize income. The quantity of parking demanded increases because the market price has fallen. Builders of parking garages will take note of the lower revenues that can be acheived by building garages and will not be as likely to invest money in such a venture because attempting to charge more money than the market is would result in an almost completely vacant lot.

This would have multiple external effects on markets beyond that for parking. For instance, by reducing the market price of parking, the quantity of spaces demanded shifts upward (again, holding the demand schedule constant). Having more spaces demanded means that there will likely be marginally less ridership of mass transit and less carpooling because the incentives are lesser, but it will also induce many people to come downtown who would not previously have done so because parking was too difficult/expensive. With more people downtown, retail businesses (wherever they are physically located) will be made better off, creating increased demand for retail space. It is difficult to add new tunnel space, but is relatively easy to add street-level space as part of new and some existing development, so that would be the likely outcome.

A long-term effect of less expensive parking is that companies will be more likely to locate their firms in the CBD because the effective wage (net of parking) that they can pay labor increases when the cost of parking goes down; equivalently they don't have to pay as much to labor in order to make labor feel as though it is getting a fair deal. With more companies located in the CBD, there are more people in the CBD, resulting in greater demand for retail services, and ultimately, for retail space.

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This is really a shame. 910 Travis has one of the more beautiful downtown lobbies, and one of the only significant ones from its time period. Made it one of the nicer buildings to go into. We can forget our dreams of street level retail and pedestrian activity if the bottoms floors of downtown buildings start being turned into parking.

Hey Subdude, I don't suppose you have a postcard of this building when it was Bank of the Southwest?

Of course!

BOSW.jpg

The lobby was significantly remodeled along with the rest of the building a few years ago. Originally escalators led from the Travis entrance up to the second floor banking lobby. At the top of the escalators there was a large Rufino Tamayo mural called "America". I'm not sure what happened to it.

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Damn, that's some text-book rubbish. Sorry, but it is.

You totally discount the larget number of people who ride Metro.

Not becuase it's cheper, but becase it's easire. Even if I could park for $1, I'd still take the bus most days like I do now.

Plus he seems to think there is a finite number of people who want parking. If I had to guess, I'd say the demand for downtown parking is practically infinite.

Edited by N Judah
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It doesn't work that way. There is a phenomenon known as 'supply and demand'. The quantity of a good demanded (in this case parking spaces) is dependent upon the price level. If the demand is held constant and the supply is increased by building new parking garages, then there will be greater competition among suppliers for a finite number of customers.

Assume that lot vacancy starts off at 95%, but we add enough spaces that vacancy goes down to 80%. One really large lot owner figures out that he can fill his lot up to 100% by charging $1 less per day than all of his competitors (the market). Suddenly, all the smaller lot owners see their vacancy rates skyrocket, forcing them to lower their prices in order to remain competitive, with their lots attempting to maximize income. The quantity of parking demanded increases because the market price has fallen. Builders of parking garages will take note of the lower revenues that can be acheived by building garages and will not be as likely to invest money in such a venture because attempting to charge more money than the market is would result in an almost completely vacant lot.

This would have multiple external effects on markets beyond that for parking. For instance, by reducing the market price of parking, the quantity of spaces demanded shifts upward (again, holding the demand schedule constant). Having more spaces demanded means that there will likely be marginally less ridership of mass transit and less carpooling because the incentives are lesser, but it will also induce many people to come downtown who would not previously have done so because parking was too difficult/expensive. With more people downtown, retail businesses (wherever they are physically located) will be made better off, creating increased demand for retail space. It is difficult to add new tunnel space, but is relatively easy to add street-level space as part of new and some existing development, so that would be the likely outcome.

A long-term effect of less expensive parking is that companies will be more likely to locate their firms in the CBD because the effective wage (net of parking) that they can pay labor increases when the cost of parking goes down; equivalently they don't have to pay as much to labor in order to make labor feel as though it is getting a fair deal. With more companies located in the CBD, there are more people in the CBD, resulting in greater demand for retail services, and ultimately, for retail space.

Agreed, but only to a point. The complication is that downtown parking doesn't function as a single market, because people are willing to pay more for convenient parking. That means there can still be marginal economic value to developers to put parking in any desirable location, so that parking vacancies increase further away from major buildings or downtown locations, while parking places that are seen as convenient can continue to charge a premium. In other words, increased supply may not decrease average parking prices across downtown, just redistribute them. Of course, the benefit is that the economic value of peripheral parking will fall, perhaps leading to more development, but this has to be balanced against the cost of having downtown flooded with parking.

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Of course!

BOSW.jpg

The lobby was significantly remodeled along with the rest of the building a few years ago. Originally escalators led from the Travis entrance up to the second floor banking lobby. At the top of the escalators there was a large Rufino Tamayo mural called "America". I'm not sure what happened to it.

I never saw the old lobby or the mural... although I believe when I was a kid my dad used to take me to some Christmas thing they did in the lobby there, where they gave out wassail. But I remember the new lobby from when I was a courier, and it was still kind of nice to walk into. The older lobbies, especially of the banks, had more of a public feel than the newer ones do. Hate to see it all go.

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Damn, that's some text-book rubbish. Sorry, but it is.

You totally discount the larget number of people who ride Metro.

Not becuase it's cheper, but becase it's easire. Even if I could park for $1, I'd still take the bus most days like I do now.

First, I only wrote in such a technical way because Hizzy and others who fail to understand supply and demand are the types that complain about everything from this to gas prices to insurance rates, and every time I hear their ridicuous arguments, it raises my blood pressure that our education system is so mediocre. I would have PMed him, but figured that someone else might actually agree with him, so I made it public.

As far as riders of mass transit are concerned, perhaps you would not decide to park for $1 less, but some marginal number of people will. Its called a demand schedule, and YES, you are counted.

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Agreed, but only to a point. The complication is that downtown parking doesn't function as a single market, because people are willing to pay more for convenient parking. That means there can still be marginal economic value to developers to put parking in any desirable location, so that parking vacancies increase further away from major buildings or downtown locations, while parking places that are seen as convenient can continue to charge a premium. In other words, increased supply may not decrease average parking prices across downtown, just redistribute them. Of course, the benefit is that the economic value of peripheral parking will fall, perhaps leading to more development, but this has to be balanced against the cost of having downtown flooded with parking.

It is in fact a single market, albeit a monopolistically competitive one. The goods in question, in this case parking at varying distances from destination clusters, are imperfect substitutes for one another. If there is a glut of parking spaces at any distance, say two blocks from a key destination cluster, then the owner of the affected parking spaces will lower their prices to lure in customers from more convenient but more expensive space and from less convenient and equally-expensive spaces, as well as from equally-convenient and now-higher-priced spaces. At that point, in order to compete for customers, the entire market, imperfectly competitive that it may be, will shift its pricing to adapt to the glut. In the end, the relationship between closer-in spaces being more expensive and further-out spaces being less expensive will hold, but the whole market will be less expensive than at the outset.

Development in any given year in an urban environment is more likely to occur on land that is lower in value...at least that seems to be the pattern in Houston. In that way, land is effectively rationed and economically-zoned. By lowering the value of the land for its highest-and-best-use, which may currently be a surface parking lot, the profit margins start looking better for development of all categories of occupiable structure.

There is no cost to having "downtown flooded with parking". In fact, as I thought that I had made clear in my initial explanation, there are benefits to inexpensive and readily-available parking.

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First, I only wrote in such a technical way because Hizzy and others who fail to understand supply and demand are the types that complain about everything from this to gas prices to insurance rates, and every time I hear their ridicuous arguments, it raises my blood pressure that our education system is so mediocre.

Maybe the market for parking spaces doesn't work as efficiently as you think it does. I'm sure there are situations in which Hizzy's scenario comes to pass.

Edited by N Judah
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It is in fact a single market, albeit a monopolistically competitive one. The goods in question, in this case parking at varying distances from destination clusters, are imperfect substitutes for one another. If there is a glut of parking spaces at any distance, say two blocks from a key destination cluster, then the owner of the affected parking spaces will lower their prices to lure in customers from more convenient but more expensive space and from less convenient and equally-expensive spaces, as well as from equally-convenient and now-higher-priced spaces. At that point, in order to compete for customers, the entire market, imperfectly competitive that it may be, will shift its pricing to adapt to the glut. In the end, the relationship between closer-in spaces being more expensive and further-out spaces being less expensive will hold, but the whole market will be less expensive than at the outset.

Development in any given year in an urban environment is more likely to occur on land that is lower in value...at least that seems to be the pattern in Houston. In that way, land is effectively rationed and economically-zoned. By lowering the value of the land for its highest-and-best-use, which may currently be a surface parking lot, the profit margins start looking better for development of all categories of occupiable structure.

There is no cost to having "downtown flooded with parking". In fact, as I thought that I had made clear in my initial explanation, there are benefits to inexpensive and readily-available parking.

I don't understand the phrase "monopolistically competitive".

As I mentioned, I agree only to a point. Additional parking will indeed tend to lower the average parking price, but not consistently as it is a constrained and imperfect "market". I will have to think about the comment that development is more likely to occur on land that is lower in value. I would think that development is primarily location driven, and that is the key factor in land prices. Lower-valued land is worth less for a reason, which explains why large blocks of downtown have been undeveloped or underutilized for decades.

I think there can be a cost to having a downtown flooded with parking. Not in economic terms, but in reducing the quality and density of the urban environment, which is one of those fuzzy intangible kind of things. ^_^ Sufficient parking is critical, but I wish it could be directed in a better manner, for example not along Main St or Buffalo Bayou. Of course, I'm dreaming here.

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  • 1 year later...
I can't reveal my sources, but insiders tell me that Hines has gutted the first four floors of the former Bank One Center at 919 Milam and built a parking garage in there. Very interesting.

Unreal how many renovations this place has gone through. I am almost certain the top 5 or 6th floor above once held that very popular cafeteria. Don't recall the name but it was so large and held many people with plenty of seating and nice water pond. They sure screwed up when they converted to offices. Sadly missed. Next year might be a hospital or something bizarre. :lol:

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They have been working on this for at least six months.

At least that's what my sources (eyeballs) tell me. I see it just about everyday.

I think there is another thread on this from way back when.

919%20Miliam,%20exterior%20street%20level%20podium_lres_web.jpg

I would imagine they have been working on it for a while, since it's now finished.

I was just being sarcastic about the insider sources. I read it in today's Wall Street Journal. ;-)

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5:00 traffic on Travis will get slower with all those outbound buses and commuters.

Ingress/egress on Travis is only for 30 parking spaces or so that are at street level -- the highest rent spaces. And it's on the left side of the street -- opposite of buses.

Ingress/egress on McKinney is for the rest of the almost 300 parking spaces -- and it's on the left side of the street, too.

All spaces are reserved. The top floor provides a fantastic view for a parking garage -- windows, locked-off balcony. So, the best spaces are at the top of the parking garage. And direct access to the building's elevators -- no need to transfer from garage to building. Garage has the very high-speed garage doors.

Opened April 2.

They've done a terrific job with the lobby and escalator to the tunnel. From the Tunnel it looks like the sun is shining in.

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Vertigo, you are thinking of the cafeteria across the street on top of the ten ten garage. I think it was called Travis Place. That garage is owned by El Paso and they closed the food court and turned it into their trading floor. You are right that cafeteria/food court was great and the water features they had were very nice and peacful at lunch time.

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Vertigo, you are thinking of the cafeteria across the street on top of the ten ten garage. I think it was called Travis Place. That garage is owned by El Paso and they closed the food court and turned it into their trading floor. You are right that cafeteria/food court was great and the water features they had were very nice and peacful at lunch time.

Thanks for correcting.

If only they could use that same concept and create a new one (cafeteria) in the same vicinity/new topic!. :P Above ground! :P

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